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This Is My Body

“And, after he had given thanks,

broke it [the bread] and said, “This is my body that is for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

I Corinthians 11:24

As we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, let us focus on the scriptural source of this great feast. The three evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke all contain parallel accounts of the Last Supper, while John’s Gospel instead gives a moving account of the washing of the feet. Many do not know that St. Paul, who was not present at the Last Supper, also included a remarkably similar account of that event in I Corinthians 11:23-26. These scriptures are the foundation for the “Institution Narrative” used at the consecration in our Mass of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ that takes place within the Eucharistic Prayer. In I Corinthians 11:26 there is a verse that does not appear in the Synoptic Gospels: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” This verse is the scriptural foundation of our Memorial Acclamation that states: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” The Mass indeed is memorial of the sacrifice that Jesus embraced as he was broken for our salvation.

Memorials are instituted, usually yearly, to remember key events such as birthdates, anniversaries of marriage or ordination, and also of national memorials such as July 4th and Thanksgiving, that commemorate important dates or events in our nation’s history. The Eucharist is the greatest of all memorials which we are asked to participate weekly as part of honoring the Lord’s Day. Bishop Robert Barron in his book This is My Body: A Call to Eucharistic Revival, states that “The Mass is indeed described as an anamnesis (a remembrance) of the Last Supper and Calvary, but this term is meant in much more than a merely psychological sense. Since Jesus is divine, all of his actions, including and especially the sacrificial act by which he saved the world, participate in the eternity of God and hence can be made present at any point in time. To “remember” him, therefore, is to participate even now in the saving events of the past, bringing them, in all of their dense reality, to the present day.” So as we celebrate the Eucharist, may our love and devotion towards Christ increase as we seek to do everything in memory of him.

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